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Greene Majority Leader's criminal case postponed

Feb 18, 2011 8:13 am
[caption id="" align="alignright" width="200" caption="Greene County Legislature Majority Leader Keith Valentine, a local insurance broker, is charged, along with his wife, with serving accohol to minors at a party at his home last summer. Photo from Greene County governmental website. "][/caption]This is a sticky story getting stickier the closer we come to the November elections. Colin DeVries of the Daily Mail reports that Greene County Majority Leader Keith Valentine and his wife Cynthia have not yet resolved the criminal case against them from last summer, when they were charged with a local law violation for allowing the consumption of alcoholic beverages by minors on their property during a July Fourth party. They were also charged with unlawfully dealing with a child, a misdemeanor. The case, being heard in Hunter Town Court, has been delayed again after Cynthia Valentine retained her own attorney in the matter. In December, a special prosecutor from Columbia County presented a plea deal that would dismiss the misdemeanor charge if the Valentines had pleaded guilty to the alcohol violation but neither Valentine has responded to the deal. DeVries reports that Richard Mott, the attorney representing Mr. Valentine, a Republican legislator for Catskill, said a new plea bargain has been proposed but he was not at liberty to discuss it at this time. Judge William Simon said of the matter that he expected, “the next you’re going to hear is if there is going to be a plea or if we’re going to go to jury trial.” The Valentines were charged Aug. 20, 2010 after a state police investigation was requested by the Greene County District Attorney’s Office after a Catskill resident made a complaint. State police found that beer was made readily available to teens at a July Fourth celebration, which, according to police, was a joint high school graduation celebration for the Valentines’ daughter. Valentine, who comes up for reelection this year, was among the legislators in 2007 who supported adoption of the local law prohibiting the consumption of alcohol by minors.